EU nationals and Student Finance in Northern Ireland
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Apply for a Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan now!
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Applications for 2017/18 are now open - it’s time for full-time undergraduate students to apply
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Tuition Fee Loans for Part-time Undergraduate (and Distance Learning) Students 2017/18
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Tuition Fee Loans for Postgraduate students 2017/18
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Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loans in Northern Ireland
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EU students: what type of finance could you qualify for?


If you’re a student from a European Union (EU) country you can apply for financial help towards the costs of studying in Northern Ireland. Help may also be available if you’re a migrant worker from an EEA (European Economic Area) country or Switzerland, or if you’re a child of a Turkish Worker in the UK.

EU nationals and Student Finance in Northern Ireland

EU nationals who are currently in receipt of student loans from Student Finance Northern Ireland, and EU students applying for university places in NI in the 2017/18 and 2018/19 academic year will continue to have access to student loans and grants, even if the course concludes after the UK’s exit from the EU.

This applies to all student finance from Student Finance NI for students in Northern Ireland for which EU nationals are eligible. This includes grants and loans to cover tuition fees (for those resident in the EEA for three years), loans and grants for maintenance (limited to those resident in the UK for at least three years), and some other grants and allowances.

Student Finance NI will assess these applications against existing eligibility criteria, and will provide loans and/or grants in the normal way. EU nationals, or their family members, who are assessed as eligible to receive grants and/ or loans by the SLC will then be eligible for the duration of their study on that course.

Students should consult their university’s student finance office, the Student Finance NI website or NI Direct, for information about the support available.

What types of financial help are available?

Depending on your circumstances, you may qualify for:

  • help with tuition fees
  • help with tuition fees and ‘additional help’ – for example, living costs

Find out how much money you can get for full-time study

Find out how much money you can get for part-time study

Additional help

Some EU nationals may also qualify for additional help, but usually only if all of the following apply:

  • you’re an EU national
  • you’ve lived in the UK for three years or more before you start your course
  • you’ll be living in the UK on the first day of the academic year in which you start your course
  • your main reason for living in the UK was not to receive full-time education

You may also qualify for additional help if you are the child of a Turkish worker or you, or a family member, are migrant workers in the UK.

If all of the above apply to you or you are a migrant worker, the child of a Turkish worker or a family member of a migrant worker in the UK the application process will be different. You need to apply in the same way as students from Northern Ireland.

Do you qualify?

To qualify for a Tuition Fee Loan the following needs to apply:

  • you’re an EU national, or the family member of an EU national resident in the EEA or Switzerland
  • your course qualifies – see the section ‘Does your course qualify’

Does your course qualify?

Your course must take place at one of the following:

  • a UK university
  • a college that receives government funding in the UK
  • a specified private institution in the UK (ask your university or college if it qualifies)
  • a group of schools taking part in a School-Centered Initial Teaching Training (SCITT) scheme in the UK

Your course must lead to one of the following qualifications:

  • degree (like a BA, BSc or BEd)
  • foundation degree
  • Diploma of Higher Education (DipEd)
  • Higher National Diploma (HND)
  • Higher National Certificate (HNC)
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE)
  • Initial Teacher Education (ITE)

If you want to study a postgraduate course (other than a PGCE), the funding rules are different.

Migrant workers

EEA and Swiss migrant workers

You may qualify for help with tuition fees and additional help if all of the following apply:

  • you’re a national from an EEA country or Switzerland
  • you’re working in the UK
  • you’ve lived in the EEA or Switzerland for three years or more before your course starts
  • you’ll be living in the UK on the first day of the academic year in which your course starts

You may also qualify if you’re a family member of an EEA or Swiss migrant worker.

If you’re the child of a Swiss national your Swiss national parent must be living in the UK on the first day of the academic year for you to be eligible for additional help. If your Swiss national parent moves to the UK during the academic year you will become eligible for additional help from that point onwards but you may not receive the full academic year entitlement.

Children of Turkish workers

You may qualify for help with tuition fees and additional help if all of the following apply:

  • you're the child of a Turkish national who usually lives and works in the UK
  • you’ve lived in the EEA, Switzerland or Turkey for three years or more before your course starts
  • you’ll be living in the UK on the first day of the academic year in which your course starts
  • your course qualifies

The application process is different if you want to apply as a migrant worker or the child of a Turkish worker. You need to apply in the same way as students from Northern Ireland.

Further help on the qualifying rules

If you want to speak to someone about eligibility for student finance and what help you can get, use the link below.